WEST MILFORD - Now this is success. The West Milford Junior Wrestling program has 12 boys who have qualified to wrestle in the state championships.
The boys who have qualified to wrestle in the New Jersey Youth Wrestling State Championships range in age from 7 to 14. In order to qualify the boys must finish first, second or third at any of the eight State qualifiers.
"It's absurd!" said volunteer coach Dave Maver. "These kids really dedicated themselves. They trained during the off season. For many of them, wrestling is not just a seasonal sport."
Maver said that dedication is really paying off. The West Milford Varsity Wrestling Team, which is the travel portion of the club, has gone 20-5 in the last two seasons in a highly competitive North Jersey Youth Wrestling League. The dozen boys qualifying for states is the most West Milford has ever had.
The club, which has been in West Milford over 20 years, has grown tremendously. There are 50 kids who participate in the Rec Program and 20 who wrestle for the varsity travel team.
The season runs from the first week in November until the middle of March, ending with the State Championship. But many of the wrestlers train year round.
"As a group, they made a strong commitment to excellence," said Maver. "Most never missed a practice, never missed a match. They did it on their own and deserve all the credit."
The older groups, kids who wrestle in the 12 and under and 14 and under age groups, head to Moorsetown this weekend for their championship. Next weekend, the 8 and under and 10 and under wrestlers have their turn in Union.
The wrestling program is run totally by volunteers. This year, several Highlander varsity wrestlers came back to help out at the club, including Tim Mickens, David Zepatelli, Alex Schimmenti, Pat Van Dyne and Matt Weaver.
Volunteer coaches include Charlie Lashavo, Dave McFadden, Mark Mickens and Maver on the varsity team; JT Bolger, Kerry Fleet, Joe Leoplod, Pete McGuiness, Jon Van Dyne and Coach McGuire on the Rec side.
Heading to the championships are:
8U: 55 lb. Aiden Bolger, 75 lb. David Jaggiello, 60 lbs. Michael Matsakis
10U: 100 lb. Josh Curving 12U: 85 lbs. Jordan Robinson, 128 lb. Joe Sorecco
14U: 190 lb. Scott Lavelle, 135 lb. Steven White, 165 lb. Colin Beard, 120 lb. Bobby Lavelle, 128 lb. Christian Delcais, 105 lb. Damian Maver
If dedication and commitment have anything to do with it, aver thinks this group is tops.
"This is the most unselfish, hardest working team I have ever been around," he said.
Your hometown is rooting for you!